Sunday, 10 February 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 12

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 12


Drama at the KO Cup Semis

The Tom Wise K.O. Cup semi-finals were played at TheTouchdown, Hartlepool (venue for many of Graham Marshall’s excellent Rapidplay events).

The Touchdown produced a very welcome buffet, enabling the players to refue las they gave their opponents food for thought.

Four A division teams (three from Middlesbrough!) battled it out for a placein the big final. Middlesbrough Rooks,holders of the local A division title seemingly in perpetuity, have only won thecup once in the last five years but are always eager to improve on this somewhat disappointing record. They were up against Middlesbrough Bishops in a tie which proved to be a bit of mismatch. With on-form county champion Mike Closs leading the team, the Rooks never looked like giving anything away from start to finish. A solitary draw was all the Bishops could manage from five boards, and that was conceded long after a convincing victory was already in the bag.

The other semi-final was tougher. Elmwood faced Middlesbrough Knights in a replay of last season’s final in a close match that kept everyone guessing until very late into the evening. For a long time, the match was balanced at one win each and then Elmwood seized the lead thanks to another win from Steve Dauber. Steve, currently leading the county individual championship with two rounds to go, is on great form this season. There then followed alengthy period without a further result. Elmwood needed just a single half-point from the two remaining games, and their players were a pawn up in both endgames.However, extreme resourcefulness from the two Knights, Robin Killick and William Place, seemed to be swinging the balance and suddenly any result was possible. Eventually, after much interesting play, both games were indeed drawn, sendingElmwood through to the final as 3-2 winners.

Elmwood have a fantastic recent record in the cup. This will be their fourth final in five seasons (they were knocked-out in the semis the other year). In those finals, two ended in success and one in defeat. What will be the outcome this time?

It is the first time I know of that The Rooks and Elmwood will meet in thecup final; curious, as they have been the two strongest local teams for many years. The Rooks usually triumph narrowly over Elmwood in the league and muststart as favourites in the final. I suspect it will be close , exciting andentertaining. Both sides have done well to reach the final - despite being the strongest teams, places in finals must still be earned by hard work - and I hope it does live up to expectations and produces a showcase of competitive, localchess talent.

The Plate final should also be a great match. Elmwood Juniors take on Stokesley in another one that is difficult to predict the outcome of.

The date has yet to be arranged for the finals, but will be up on this siteas soon as it is announced.

36th Southlands Junior Tournament


Ever since 1990, the Cleveland Schools’ Chess Association has run three tournaments a year at Southlands Centre, Middlesbrough. Over the years the events have attracted many players, of all ages and abilities. Some have become chess superstars (Richard Palliser, Bret Addison, Gawain Jones etc.....), some will undoubtedly go on to become great players and, of course, the vast majority just wanted to play a little chess at a well-organized tournament. At the height of local chess activity, the record turnout was an incredible 130 participants.Then 100 became the acceptable norm, then 80...then numbers tumbled down to40-ish. The latest tournament attracted just 27 entries. TWENTY SEVEN. Yet do you have any idea how many entry forms I printed, copied and distributed to attract this number of players? Well...I’m not sure I should tell you. Each one of the three annual events takes an average of four months to prepare,publicise and run. They are advertised locally, nationally, on the CEEFAX, Teletext, chess magazines, websites, chess club notice boards, schoolnewsletters, by word of mouth, by pre-released lists of ‘dates for the season’.

Every players finishing in the top three of any age group wins a trophy for keeps. Tied places are not subjected to tie-breaks; every placed player receivesa trophy regardless of sum of opponents scores, sum of progressive scores, play-offs or even who has the biggest nose. So many trophies! And in addition, we have given away book prizes, magazine subscriptions, great cash prizes, certificates and thousands of sweets.

What do I have to do to make juniors play in chess tournaments? Do I have to come round on the morning of the event, apologise for not giving reminder number 100 and lead you directly to your playing table? Would a 500 foot neon sign over Southlands Centre help to remind you of what, when and where?

Yet there are some players who have stayed loyal to the tournaments, through thick and thin. They have nearly all become highly reliable players for their local senior chess clubs.

So, hopefully some of the 27 people did enjoy the 36th tournament.

Or Goldreich won the Under-9 section with five straight wins, a point ahead of Matthew Williamson, and Emma Mavin took third with 3/5.

James Thorne-Wallis also scored five points, in the Under-11 section, to take clear first. Vijay ShyamSundar was second with four points and there was a big tie for third, with Thomas Mavin (still only six years old!), Abbey Arnison, Hayley Allan and Michael Davison all scoring 2.5/5.

Carl Shuttleworth was his usual extremely impressive self and he easily won the Over-11 section with 5/5. Christopher Dale held second with 4/5 and David Gorley sharedthird with Nick Webb, both on 3.5/5.

Given the continuous downward trend in the number of entries, I have decided that the 36th tournament should also be the last of the series. The 37th event,scheduled for June 2002, has been cancelled. The numbers just do not justify the time and money spent on running these tournaments. I am working on new ideas forj unior tournaments and will post full details here in this column if and when they become available.

These are the final Grand Prix scores for the 2001-2 season. The first column shows the score from last November’s event. Column two shows the score fromthe February event and the third column is the final aggregate. A cheque for£20 is on its way to each of the three section winners.


Or Goldreich 4/5 5/5 9

Thomas Mavin 4/5 4

Matthew Williamson 4/5 4/5 8

Catriona Bruce 3/5 2.5/5 5.5

Kane Moore 1/5 2.5/5 3.5

Emma Mavin 3/5 3

Tom Bulmer 3/5 3

Thomas Donald 3/5 3

Jenny Openshaw 2.5/5 2.5

Andrew Lodge 2/5 2

James Herbert 1.5/5 1.5

Jason Loveridge 1.5/5 1.5

Abigail Mealing 1.5/5 1.5

Emma Robinson 1/5 1


James Thorne-Wallis 3/5 5/5 8

Vijay Shyam Sundar 3/5 4/5 7

Michael Davison 4/5 2.5/5 6.5

Abbey Arnison 2/5 2.5/5 4.5

Ben Harker 4/5 4

Thomas Beckwith 4/5 4

Hayley Allan 2.5/5 2.5

Thomas Mavin 2.5/5 2.5

Jonathan Robison 2/5 2

Markus Waddoup 2/5 2

Michael Briggs 1.5/5 1.5

Kenneth Kilburn 1.5/5 1.5

Michael Lau 1.5/5 1.5

Michael Lee 1.5/5 1.5

Kyle McGee 1/5 1


Carl Shuttleworth 4.5/5 5/5 9

Christopher Dale 3/5 4/5 7

Graham Shuttleworth 4/5 2.5/5 6.5

Matthew Jackman 2.5/5 3/5 5.5

David Gorley 2/5 3.5/5 5.5

Matthew Hammond 2/5 3/5 5

Dominic Leigh 2/5 2/5 4

Robin Killick 4/5 4

Nathan Huntley 3.5/5 3.5

Nick Webb 3.5/5 3.5

Peter Harker 3/5 3

Thomas Watson 2/5 1/5 3

Calum Arnison 1/5 2/5 3

Andrew Watts 2.5/5 2.5

Amy Dryden 1/5 1/5 2

Tony Jefferson 2/5 2

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